data-and-user support, and LANL was changed to a subcontractor of BBN. Sequence data activities at BBN and LANL were sponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), as well as DOE and other agencies. At the end of the first 5-year contract, IntelliGenetics became the primary contractor, and LANL again became the subcontractor in charge of designing and building the database. In October 1992, at the end of the second 5-year contract, NIGMS transferred GenBank to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the National Library of Medicine. In August 1993, LANL and NCBI database resources became independent of one another. GenBank remained at NCBI, and LANL took the new name of Genome Sequence Database (GSDB) and moved to the National Center for Genome Resources (NCGR) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The EMBL Nucleotide Sequence Database, which originated in 1982, is now maintained by the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), located near Cambridge, England—which also oversees the SWISS-PROT Protein Sequence Database and more than 30 other specialty databases. DDBJ, created in 1984 and sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture since 1986, accumulates nucleotide sequence data, mostly from Japanese scientists, and through electronic transfer makes more than a dozen other databases available.

Within a decade the genomes of at least 200 organisms, from numerous bacterial species to humans, will have been sequenced. By then, expression assays using high-throughput microarrays of DNA or cDNA or protein microarrays will be commonplace and provide us with overwhelming amounts of new information on the time and location (i.e., tissue and cell type) of expression of various genes and on the changes of gene expression in the organism’s development and response to different exposure conditions (Reichhardt 1999). There will be a tremendous need for departments, or divisions, of bioinformatics in universities and industries to keep track of the data and to analyze it with respect to interesting questions about genome organization and function (see commentary by Reichhardt 1999). Additional information is likely to arise from the comparison of genomes of different organisms. The need to train large numbers of people in the new field of bioinformatics will be great. Information readily available on the Internet should facilitate the integration of the fields of developmental toxicology, human genetics, genomics, and developmental biology. In the future, developmental toxicologists will certainly benefit in many ways from ready and immediate access to this new information, but it should be appreciated that training will be required before the vast amounts of information can be used effectively. It is also unspecified at present how best to organize the data so that those involved in risk assessment can obtain what is most relevant.


Molecular tools have been used recently to identify interactions between genetic and environmental factors in the causation of complex diseases such as

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement